My mother had a mild stroke in her 50's. Prior to that, she had been very psychotic numerous times. After that, never again. Yes, still some magical thinking, vague paranoid thoughts- but no one was driving her car at night to commit crimes and frame her anymore. I never understood why. Was it the stroke- did it do something to her brain? Was it the experience? What?
Today I read an article that blew my mind. Well, actually it was the summery of a presentation at the American Psychiatric Association. They found that schizophrenics at a coumadin clinic had their psychosis resolve and no longer needed medication. And these people had not had strokes. The author thinks it is the coumadin. I didn't follow all of the nitty gritty, but apparently coumadin might block some of the pro-inflammatory pathways that are overactive in psychotic conditions.
When my mother had her stroke, they put her on coumadin. They tried to put her on it sooner- she has atrial fibrillation- but she refused. After the stroke she takes it. Well, I am going to stop my campaign to try to get her on one of the newer drugs like Pradaxa until we find out if these drugs do the same thing. But I think the knowledge might be a long time coming. I don't think that most of psychiatry is ready to get rid of antidepressants and antipsychotics for blood thinners and anti-oxidants. It may take a generation- enough time for the old guard to die off- before we can think about drugs other than "psychiatric drugs" as proper means for treating psychiatric illness.
I think that someday we will think about antipsychotics the way we think about steroids- sometimes you have to use them for a short term flare up- but you do your best not to use them long term unless it is of clear benefit and there is no other option. But we don't have all of the good options yet, at least not widely available.
Well, my mom is off her Risperdal, and taking her coumadin. Who could have predicted that this would be a better psychiatric drug for her? I was so scared when she went off of the Risperdal, but by then she had her coumadin.